Free school meals: third of kids in poverty miss out

Post date: 
19 July 2023

A third of school-age children in England (900,000) living in poverty miss out on free school meals.

This is because of a lack of universal provision and the restrictive eligibility criteria for the means-tested provision that does exist.

Government action in England lags far behind Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where devolved governments have decided to provide more children with free school meals.

An urgent extension of free school meals to all school-age children at a cost of only £2 billion would mean no children miss out and would provide numerous educational, health and social benefits.